“Welcome to Damh the Bard’s therapy session!”

It’s what I say when I’m getting towards the end of Wild Mountain Thyme live. It’s meant as a bit of fun, to encourage those who might be reticent about singing along, to join in. It builds community. Brings people together. It’s what music does, as seen at this weekend’s Glastonbury festival. 100,000 people singing along with Adele and Coldplay, in harmony, smiling, and feeling connected with each other. It’s what we need so much right now.

The spiritual path we follow needs to be strong. It needs to be flexible, and to be able to inspire, and to offer guidance during times of crisis and change. I was recently involved in a project called The Green Album. It’s a wonderful collection of songs offered by Pagan musicians around the world with each song’s focus being the environment. My song is called How can we believe that we own it all and the lyrics are about our relationship with the Natural World. How nature programs reflect that relationship by showing structures built by animals as natural, yet a human-built lake or city isn’t. That somehow we see ourselves as separate observers of nature, not really a part of it.

One of the verses goes like this:

Turn on the TV what do I see?

Politicians who disagree,

And another country overthrown.

Sometimes I feel like the world’s insane,

But then when I look again,

I see the only madness is our own.

And this is one of the huge ways that my Pagan Path helps me in moments of crisis. To know that I’m not separate from Nature, that I’m a part of it. The human world can feel all encompassing, overwhelming, so loud that it can drown out everything else. But my Druidry helps me to step out of that for a moment, and still see that everything else carries on, regardless. The land, the plants, the animals and birds all around me are getting on with the same stuff they always do. The Sun rises and sets, and the Moon waxes and wanes.

As Pagans many of us celebrate the turning seasons with 8 seasonal festivals. Change is a huge part of our spirituality. We do this to constantly recognise that Autumn and Winter are an equal part of the Wheel (ok, some of us Spring and Summer people accept this with a little reticence, but it’s true). They break down the detritus, to add fertility to the soil, so that new growth will emerge in the Spring. This constant anabolic and catabolic dance is a necessity. Even our bodies are a part of that dance as we return to the earth too. So change cannot come as a surprise. Like a Winter storm it’s not always comfortable and can be challenging, yet with each passing day Spring draws closer, the dawn comes. This endless cycle shows me that there is always hope.

I thankfully live in a democracy. We were given the opportunity to vote and lots of us took it. It didn’t turn out the way I personally wanted, but I’m not going to throw my toys out of the pram. It’s time to see where this all goes.

Some of you might be thinking, what a bloody hippy! That’s ok. I’m good with that. Right now it might feel like I’m walking through an immense, seemingly barren, field in Winter. That I’m surrounded by mud and earth. But then I see the video of a policeman stopping to propose to his boyfriend, and I hear 100,000 voices singing songs of love and hope with Adele and Coldplay, these and many more images and sounds of hope are the fresh green shoots pushing through the earth into the light. Life is enduring, this is one of the other great gifts that my path has given me – an acceptance of change, but also a feeling that I am a part of that change, not separate from it, and therefore can positively affect and guide it. This helps me to see more and more of those fresh green shoots.

The field has been ploughed, changed. But there is green. The seeds are always yearning for the sun.

The seasons, the cycles of life, show me that this is inevitable.